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Miami Officials Sound Alarm As Maskless Crowds Party For Spring Break; Pelosi Stops Short Of Calling For New York Governor Cuomo To Resign; Breonna Taylor's Boyfriend Files Lawsuit Against Louisville Police; Interview With Representative Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) About Capitol Hill Probe Against Three GOP Colleagues; West Virginia County That Backed Trump Welcomes Biden Relief Deal. Aired 4-5p ET

Aired March 14, 2021 - 16:00   ET



ANA CABRERA, CNN HOST: Thanks so much for joining us on this Sunday afternoon. You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York.

Spring break is on, deadly pandemic or not. That seems to be the philosophy at least in south Florida this weekend. CNN has learned Miami Beach Police have spent the weekend breaking up unruly crowds. At least 100 people arrested this weekend alone. Tourists also packing restaurants, sidewalks, beaches, airports. Some masks, but certainly not many and no apparent concern for social distancing.

Nationwide, health experts are worried that these determined spring breakers will set back progress made so far against the coronavirus. And there is plenty to herald on that front. The CDC now says 107 million vaccine doses have been administered. And today, Dr. Anthony Fauci said it is possible that three feet of social distancing instead of six would suffice to reopen schools. And he teased that new guidance should be coming soon from the CDC.

Also today we are closely following developments surrounding New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi this morning saying Cuomo needs the look inside his heart but ultimately she stopped short of calling for his resignation as multiple women now accuse of him sexual harassment.

We will go live to Albany, New York, in just a moment.

But first back to south Florida where spring break is in full swing despite health officials' advice. CNN national correspondent Natasha Chen is in Miami Beach.

Natasha, what does spring break look like? Is the feeling there that the pandemic is over?

NATASHA CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Ana, certainly people have told us that they're here partly because they are escaping more restrictive conditions wherever they came from. Police have had a bit of a hard time, as you mentioned earlier, on Friday night, at an intersection just a few blocks from where we are. They had to try to break up a large crowd. Video that we can show you here, cell phone video acquired by one of our affiliates shows you what happened.

Now Miami Beach Police tweeted that the crowd became unruly, surrounded the officers. They used pepper balls to try to disperse the crowd. And in the mix of all that, two officers were injured and sent to the hospital.

Now Saturday night was a bit calmer. But the overall general feeling is that there are a lot more officers out assisting Miami Beach Police than ever before. And the city tells me that over the whole weekend they've seen about 100 arrests. Things like seizing weapons, seizing drugs, issues that they typically deal with already during spring break. But because we are in a pandemic it's twice as hard.

Now as I mentioned some spring break tourists told me that they are trying to escape not just the colder weather where they're from, but also more restrictive conditions. Here are a couple of people who said they came down here for two weeks from Massachusetts.


DAVID LAVELLE, MIAMI BEACH VISITOR: No one cares around here, it seems like. Not like no one cares. But like everyone is just more relaxed. And we're just here to do that.

MARTY HA, MIAMI BEACH VISITOR: I am trying to do my part just to help stop the spread or at least stop the spike. Everyone else around me, not too worried. Again, I am vaccinated.


CHEN: Notice he said he has been vaccinated. He was one of the only people wearing a mask in that moment. His friend next to him said that he had already gotten COVID. So there was a little less concern from him. But generally speaking, folks I have talked to say that they are not concerned with the crowds that they are spending time with in the evenings here on Miami Beach -- Ana.

CABRERA: And should they be? We'll ask a doctor in just a moment. Thank you, Natasha Chen.

Dr. Celine Gounder is a CNN medical analyst and infectious disease specialist and epidemiologist, and joins us now.

Dr. Gounder, vaccinations are accelerating, COVID cases are dropping, COVID-related deaths are slowing down as well. Is the country in a better place to weather spring break activities like we're seeing and hearing about, compared to some of the past holidays that were followed by big COVID surges?

DR. CELINE GOUNDER, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: Ana, we have recovered to a great extent from the winter holiday surge. But I do think it's important to point out that cases and infections, deaths are not continuing to drop. We've really plateaued now for a while at about 60,000 new infection as day, 1500 deaths per day. And on top of that, people are going on spring break and letting down their guard as some of these new more infectious variants are spreading across the country.

You have one out of the U.K. as well as a newer one that's been detected here in New York City, which also seems to be more infectious.


And based on our previous experience in this country and in other countries, when you see a plateau, it predicts another surge. And we have these new variants that are also very much potentially fueling a more severe surge.

CABRERA: This morning Dr. Fauci signaled a potential change in the near future to the six-foot social distancing rule that we've been living with now for more than a year. Listen.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, CHIEF MEDICAL ADVISER TO PRESIDENT BIDEN: The CDC is very well aware that data are accumulating making it look more like three feet are OK under certain circumstances. They are analyzing that. And I can assure you within a reasonable period of time, quite reasonable, they will be giving guidelines according to the data that they have. It won't be very long, I promise you.


CABRERA: Dr. Gounder, what do you think about three feet instead of six feet as long as people are wearing masks and especially as schools are trying to reopen and space is an issue?

GOUNDER: So some of this data is from schools, in fact, where the students may not have been six feet apart. They may have been more like three feet apart. But when they were wearing mask and when they opened windows, had decent ventilation and the like, still did not see huge amounts of transmission, much transmission at all, in schools. And I think what we've learned over the past year is, you know, how this virus transmitted.

Is it through droplets, which are -- those more visible droplets that might fly out of your mouth when you cough or is it those tiny aerosols that are really more invisible when you're talking or sneezing or coughing? And it may be that the aerosols are really more important. It really does seem like airborne spread is what matters here. And that's why the masks and the ventilation seem to be so critical, really, to keeping people safe.

CABRERA: Speaking of masks, a new model is projecting mask use in the U.S. will plunge in June. And if this happens and the virus is not completely under control, how do you see things playing out?

GOUNDER: It really depends on what people are doing. If people are outdoors and not wearing masks, I think that's a very different situation from if they're indoors not wearing masks. So I hope that, you know, people find other ways to reduce the risk. Perhaps just really moving as much outside as possible when the weather is great in order to reduce transmission in the community at that time.

CABRERA: In a lot of ways it does feel like we are rounding the corner. You know, you hear about May 1st, we may all have, you know, eligibility for the vaccine. July 4th could be an amazing opportunity to get together with people and feel some sort of normalcy. However, the gut check here is we're still looking at more than 1700 American deaths that were just reported yesterday. So why is the death toll still this high? And when would you expect it to drop significantly?

GOUNDER: Well, I think we'd sort of plateaued in our death toll and our cases for a couple of different reasons. One is people have been letting down their guard. They are not masking as much. They are not, you know, socializing perhaps outdoors. They are doing more indoors, in restaurants and bars. We have seen more indoor dining open up. And that's one of the highest risk things you could be doing.

And then you do have the spread of these more infectious variants. The U.K. variant is predicted to be the dominant strain and we're definitely on path for this to happen by the end of this month. This is the strain that resulted in a surge in cases in the U.K. as well as elsewhere in Europe. And we have our own homegrown variant here in New York City which also seems to be more infectious and may be contributing to some of this as well.

So, you know, we're not out of the woods yet. Only about 10 percent of Americans have been fully vaccinated. And so we have a bit of a ways more to go before we can really be lifting these public health measures safely.

CABRERA: And let's look at Italy because they're going into another lockdown and just let that be our visual and tangible warning of what could happen if we aren't more careful.

Thank you, Dr. Celine Gounder, as always.

New today, the most powerful woman in Congress, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, stopping short of calling for New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to resign amid growing sexual harassment allegations.

I want to bring in CNN's Athena Jones in New York's state capital of Albany.

And Athena, what did Pelosi have to say?

ATHENA JONES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Ana. Well, Speaker Pelosi is not among those calling on the governor to resign. Here's what she had to say about that in an interview this morning.


REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): I do think that the women deserve to hear the results of these investigations, as does the governor.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS ANCHOR: Can he be an effective leader now? PELOSI: But again -- no tolerance. No tolerance. And this is a subject

very near and dear to my heart. This is -- no tolerance for sexual harassment. Let the world know that.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But you're not calling on him to resign right now?

PELOSI: I think we should see the results of the -- but he may decide.


Hopefully this result will be soon. And what I'm saying is the governor should look inside his heart. He loves New York. To see if he can govern effectively.


JONES: So there you hear the House speaker saying the governor should look inside his heart to figure out if he can continue to lead. And what she said somewhat echoes one of the allies we've heard of the governor, New York state majority leader Crystal People Stokes, who says this is not about the governor himself, this is about fairness and due process. She also talking about how let's let the investigation play out.

But those two are in the minority when it comes to people who are being vocal about where they stan. The majority of New York's congressional delegation is calling on the governor to resign as are the two senators from New York, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senator Kristen Gillibrand. They joined together in a statement Friday afternoon saying the governor should step down. Senator Gillibrand spoke about that more this morning. Here's what she had to say.


SEN. KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND (D-NY): Certainly confronting and overcoming the COVID crisis requires focused, steady, sure leadership. And I commend the brave actions of the individuals that have come forward to speak of serious allegations of misconduct and abuse. And because of the multiple, credible sexual harassment and misconduct allegations, it's clear that Governor Cuomo has lost the confidence of his governing partners as well as the people of New York. That's why I believe that the governor has to resign.


JONES: So there you hear from Senator Gillibrand saying that it's time for the governor to step down for the good of the state of New York. And she brings up this idea that you need focused leadership. Well, this is a question that has been put to the governor over the past couple of press conferences. Can you lead amidst this distraction, these investigations, the scandals that are unfolding?

And he argues that yes, he can, he can walk and chew gum at the same time. He was able to negotiate the state budget last year during the height of the pandemic in New York. He can do so again. He says there have been investigations in the past that have lasted for years. But that's how government works. You keep going even with things like this going on. So that is what the governor is saying. We'll see what plays out over this next week -- Ana.

CABRERA: OK. Athena Jones, it seems like every day there is a new development. Appreciate you staying on top of it.

Coming up, new developments in the Breonna Taylor case. What her former boyfriend is doing now to seek justice.

Plus a high school sports announcer blames his racist remarks on diabetes. That's next.



CABRERA: We're back with new developments in the death of Breonna Taylor. Her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, is now suing the Louisville Metro Police Department alleging the department and officers involved in last year's raid violated his constitutional rights. The Louisville Police say it does not comment on pending litigation.

Now Walker filed this lawsuit just this weekend on the one-year anniversary of Taylor's death as crowds gathered and marched in memory of Taylor, the 26-year-old EMT who was shot and killed during a botched police raid. Calls continue to grow for a grand jury to consider more charges after only one of the three officers who fired guns in that raid was indicted but those charges were not directly related to Taylor's death.

With us now is CNN legal analyst Joey Jackson, a criminal defense attorney, and Areva Martin, a civil rights attorney.

Thank you both for being here. Let's start with this new lawsuit filed by Kenneth Walker, Areva. His lawyers allege that the officers involved in this raid violated his Fourth Amendment right when they executed the search warrant in Taylor's apartment. Can you explain how that applies here?

AREVA MARTIN, CIVIL RIGHTS ATTORNEY: Yes, absolutely, Ana. The lawyers probably have a pretty substantial claim. The warrant that was used to enter Breonna Taylor's apartment had to be based on probable cause. And probable cause in this case means some credible evidence had to be presented to a magistrate judge to make him believe that her apartment was the location of a crime or that some crime had been conducted at her apartment.

And what we're learning is that there was a detective that submitted this information to this magistrate judge and he in his own words had admitted that he included false and fabricated information in this warrant. Apparently he presented information that he had contacted a postal inspector to confirm that drugs were being delivered to Breonna Taylor's apartment. He has since recanted that statement saying that that was a false statement, that he never contacted any postal inspector to confirm that drugs were being, you know, delivered to that apartment.

So if that evidence is presented during this lawsuit, which there is every reason to believe that it will be, that means that this Fourth Amendment violation case that's been filed by Mr. Walker's attorneys, probably has a substantial chance of, you know, Mr. Walker prevailing in this case.

CABRERA: Separately, Joey, could another grand jury be asked to consider additional charges specific to Breonna Taylor's killing which apparently didn't happen in the last grand jury?

JOEY JACKSON, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Indeed they could. Good to be with you, Ana. Good to see you, Areva. Listen, the bottom line is the case was presented, and there's a lot of blowback with respect to what that grand jury was asked to do.

Now remember, Ana, a grand jury is not deciding guilt or innocence. A grand jury makes two determinations. Number one, is there reasonable cause to believe that a crime was committed? And number two, did the subjects of the investigation commit the crime?

When you don't present charges for the grand jury to consider with regard to accountability for Breonna Taylor, that's a problem. And then when you mislead the public suggesting you did and that the grand jury said oh, well, there's nothing to see here, that's another problem. And so to the extent that it was never put before the grand jury with regard to conduct that put Breonna Taylor in danger, in fact killing her, I think that you could see that occur.


But that's a political issue. Quite frankly, it depends upon the will of the people and how much pressure they are going to put on the governor and attorney general to look at this anew and get accountability for Breonna Taylor's killing.

CABRERA: Let's turn to the trial of former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin who's charged in the killing of George Floyd. He's facing multiple charges including this new third-degree murder charge that a judge just reinstated. He's pleaded not guilty to all the charges.

But, Areva, how significant is the reinstated charge?

MARTIN: Very significant, Ana, because it does give the prosecution another pathway in terms of getting a conviction in this case. We have to remember that getting a police officer, first of all, tried and then ultimately convicted for killing a citizen while they are involved in the regular course of their duty is very, very difficult even when cases are like in the case of George Floyd caught on videotape.

We only need to go back to the Rodney King case, the Sandra (INAUDIBLE) case, there are many examples where officers have been involved with violent encounters with citizens where that citizen has died but yet the officer has not been convicted this. So third-degree murder charge gives the prosecutors yet another opportunity to get a conviction. And we know just recently there was an officer involved --

CABRERA: We just lost Areva. Let me turn to Joey and ask about the jurors. Because jury selection continues right now. Seven jurors have been seated for this trial including a white male in his 20s, a mixed race woman in her 20s, two white males in their 30s, a black male in his 30s, a Hispanic male in his 20s, and a white woman in her 50s. Fourteen jurors are needed total, including two alternates.

Joey, based on what we know of these jurors, what are your thoughts? Are they representative?

JACKSON: So I would caution, you know, at this point, and it's premature to have a wholesale view of the jury selection process based on what we have here. But I do think that when you see jurors like this, and you saw there, when you put it up, you have a Hispanic male, you have an African-American male, you have a mixed race woman, you have -- so, you know, you have that. And then of course you have a number of white males who were there.

But remember, Ana, people are very complex. And as a result of that, you know, you can't sort of pigeon hole them, and say white male, therefore they'll believe X, black male will believe Y, and Hispanic male will believe Z. And so you only hope as attorneys that you ask two questions, number one, can you be fair and have an open mind? Right? That's question number one when you're evaluating the evidence.

Number two, can you evaluate the evidence based upon what's in the courtroom and nothing else? I should add, briefly, Ana, remember, that these jurors had a questionnaire. That questionnaire sent to them in December had a number of things that they had to answer.

What are your views on defunding the police? What are your views on Black Lives Matter? Did you participate in any protests? And hopefully the attorneys who are there on both sides have gotten a feel for those jurors, believe they're representative and believe they can make that very difficult decision as it relates to the three charges that are being faced by Officer Chauvin.

CABRERA: It is interesting to see that a lot of them fall within like the 20s to 30s, you know, 30s range. And I don't know what impact that would have, if any.

But, Areva, the goal of course is to pick jurors that are impartial and that do not come into the trial with bias about the case. But almost everyone has now seen that shocking video of Chauvin kneeling on George Floyd's neck. How does that factor in to jury selection and the subsequent arguments?

MARTIN: Well, it makes it very difficult, Ana, to be honest with you. And our jury system is imperfect. We have to acknowledge that. We're asking people to come into a trial where there has been a ton of media attention, as you've just indicated. They've watched this video, this horrific video you played over and over again.

But we're asking them to walk into this courtroom and to be able to put aside what they've seen, what they've heard, and to listen and to make their decision about guilt or innocence based only on the information that's presented during that trial. Now we'd like to believe, those of us that work in this, you know, our legal system, that jurors are able to do that. But we must acknowledge that's going to be really difficult.

And Joey brought up that questionnaire. And that's why that questionnaire was used and is often used in high profile cases like this so that you can kind of screen out those individuals who have biases and many of them will tell you they can't set them aside. We should note that in this case the judge has dismissed a lot of jurors who've said I have seen that videotape, I can't get it out of my mind. I don't believe I can be an impartial juror this this case.

CABRERA: And so they have to continue to go through more and more people. Seven people selected so far.

Areva Martin and Joey Jackson, it's good to see both of you. Thank you very much for taking the time and sharing your expertise with us.

JACKSON: Thank you, Ana.

CABRERA: Listen to this. A high school basketball announcer in Oklahoma is blaming his diabetes and a spike in his blood sugar for the racist comments he made during a live stream state basketball tournament.


I thought we had some sound there. But let me tell you what happened. The Norman High School girls basketball team, they were about to take on Midwest City, this was on Thursday. The Norman players started kneeling during the national anthem and that's when the announcer, Matt Rowan, hurled horrifying racist insults at the Norman team that were caught on mic.


MATT ROWAN, BROADCASTER: We will be right back here live after the national anthem, ladies and gentlemen.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They are green and black.

ROWAN: Oh, (EXPLETIVE DELETED). They're kneeling. (EXPLETIVE DELETED). I hope Norman gets their (EXPLETIVE DELETED) kicked.


CABRERA: Wow. Rowan later apologized saying in part, and I quote, "I suffer Type 1 diabetes and during the game my sugar was spiking. While not excusing my remarks it is not unusual that when my sugar spikes that I become disoriented and often say things that are not appropriate as well as hurtful."

And he goes on to say, "While the comments I made would certainly seem to indicate that I am racist, I am not. I have never considered myself to be racist and in short cannot explain why I made those comments." Rowan was part of a crew that was under contract to broadcast this

tournament. That contract has now been terminated by the school district.

Coming up, as President Biden hits the road to sell Americans on the stimulus deal, we will talk to red state voters to see what they think of the bill and the idea that not a single Republican in Congress supported it.



CABRERA: A Democrat lawmaker is calling for an investigation into three of her Republican colleagues for their alleged roles in instigating the deadly Capitol insurrection on January 6th. Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal has formally asked the House Ethics Committee and the Office of Congressional Ethics to, quote, "thoroughly investigate" the activity of Republican Congresswoman Lauren Boebert, Congressman Mo Brooks and Congressman Paul Gosar.

What did they do? Who were they talking to in the time leading up to the riot?

Now in this request that she's made, she points to a tweet of Boebert saying Speaker Nancy Pelosi had been removed from the House chamber during the insurrection. She highlights Brooks's speech at the Trump rally near the Capitol shortly before the violence broke out and Gosar's ties to a far-right organizer of the January 6th rally and his calls for supporters to take action against certification of the election.

And Congresswoman Jayapal was seen on camera sheltering in the gallery there during the attack. She has since said that it was in this moment that she closed her eyes and began to pray.

Congresswoman Jayapal is joining us now. She represents Washington state and serves on the Budget and Judiciary Committees. She's also the chair of the Progressive Caucus.

Congresswoman, good to have you with us. What are your expectations of these investigations?

REP. PRAMILA JAYAPAL (D-WA): Well, I really believe, Ana, that we have a standard that we have to uphold in Congress. And if people do not uphold that ethical standard, then it reflects badly on all of us.

But equally important, I think that there has been no accountability for some of these members who clearly did and said things that were absolutely unacceptable, like tweeting Speaker Pelosi's location in real time, or organizing, you know -- one of the lead organizers called one of these members of Congress his spirit animal for the rally, and the organization of the rally.

I think that this is incredibly important for us to have accountability around, to have a complete investigation. I mean, I am asking for both the Office of Congressional Ethics and the House Ethics Committee to investigate this because I think they can also find other things that were not in the public record. And I believe there are quite a few of those things. So I am looking forward to the conclusion of the investigation and the results of that.

CABRERA: What do you mean other things that weren't in the public record and that you have an idea of what that would be?

JAYAPAL: Well, they are allowed to investigate any number of things related to other connections that these individuals may have had with insurrectionists, with organizers of the Stop the Steal rally, things that were perhaps not, you know, tweeted out but are still there.

They have the ability to investigate all of those. And so what I've asked for is a full investigation. I listed much of the things -- many of the things that were in the public record but they can go beyond that and look for other evidence that these individuals did not uphold the standards that are expected of members of Congress.

And they can also refer, as you might see at the last paragraph of my letter, I say that these things can also be referred to the Department of Justice for further investigation according to federal statutes.

CABRERA: Take a listen to what Senator Ron Johnson said just this week about the Capitol attack.


SEN. RON JOHNSON (R-WI): I knew those were people that love this country, that truly respect law enforcement, would never anything to break a law. And so I wasn't concerned. Now had the tables been turned -- Joe, this could get me in trouble. Had the tables been turned and President Trump won the election and those were tens of thousands of Black Lives Matter and Antifa protesters, I might have been a little concerned.



CABRERA: I was stunned when I heard that. What's your reaction?

JAYAPAL: I was stunned as well. You know, these were things that perhaps if people thought them they knew well enough to not say them out loud. But this is what the Republican Party has become, a clear embrace of white supremacist domestic terror groups.

And that is what the Republican Party apparently is today. You know, I questioned Bill Barr last summer on a -- as you know, about the difference between how Black Lives Matter protesters were treated versus the people who stormed -- the white supremacists who stormed the Michigan state capitol with guns and swastikas.

And that is exactly what you're hearing and what Ron Johnson is saying. Stunning that a U.S. senator would say these things or think these things. But again, this is where the Republican Party has gone. They are clearly embracing racist ideologies, white supremacist groups, and not afraid, completely emboldened to say that out loud, in public, and you know, have people realize that that's who they are.

CABRERA: Do you think Ron Johnson is racist?

JAYAPAL: Well, certainly from that statement it appears to be. And I think that he has to really examine what he's using his U.S. Senate platform to do. Not only this statement, but you know, a continued embrace of these insurrectionists as good people. A continued peddling of conspiracy theories and falsehoods from the U.S. Senate, one of the highest platforms in the land. I think it is truly stunning and scary for the Republican Party. Scary for our country.

CABRERA: Seventeen House Republicans are asking Speaker Pelosi when the security fence around the Capitol is coming down. And take a listen to Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell.


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): I'm extremely uncomfortable with the fact that my constituents can't come to the Capitol, with all this razor wire around the complex. It reminds me of my last visit to Kabul.


CABRERA: What's your response to Republican colleagues who say this is overkill?

JAYAPAL: I say I don't like the razor wire either. But I also like being alive. I like to have the idea that I am going to wake up in the morning, go to work and be safe. And what we have seen is that we have a lot of work to do to make sure that all of us can go to the Capitol and be safe. So, you know, if Mitch McConnell was so concerned about this, he should have voted to impeach the president.

That would have sent a very strong signal to white supremacist groups across the country. But he didn't do that. Republicans didn't do that. So we still have a lot of groups out there, Ana, who believe they are patriots somehow for assaulting the Capitol in the worst assault since -- you know, almost a century, more than a century. So I don't have a lot of sympathy for Mitch McConnell.

That said, I hope Senator McConnell will embrace the recommendations of General Honore around the money we need to spend to really update the security in the Capitol so that we can all go to work safe and allow all of our constituents to come to the Capitol and have public access. Because absolutely that is very important and we want to get to that place very quickly.

CABRERA: Honore has been recommending retractable barriers as well as an upgrade to video surveillance.

Really quick if you will, have you personally been receiving threats since January 6th?

JAYAPAL: I have. And I can just tell you that I asked General Honore whether we were safe now. He said we were, but I just think, Ana, that we're all struggling with what we went through, what we experienced as the closest witnesses to that assault, trapped in the gallery, many of us. Trapped on the floor.


JAYAPAL: And so we just have work to do quickly to implement those security concerns -- those security measures.

CABRERA: What kind of threats have you been getting?

JAYAPAL: You know, there is a variety. And this isn't the first time, Ana. Unfortunately, those threats have really increased against lawmakers over the last several years that Donald Trump was in office. But there are e-mails, there are a whole bunch of different places that we get threats, unfortunately.

CABRERA: I'm sorry to hear that. Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, thank you for speaking out and for being part of our show. Thank you for coming on.

JAYAPAL: Thank you, Ana.

CABRERA: We'll be right back.



CABRERA: President Biden is hitting the road this week to sell the coronavirus stimulus deal as people are starting to get those $1400 checks. The president and vice president along with the first lady and second gentleman will be fanning out across the country to sell this plan. And as you noticed there, they are hitting traditional battle ground states like Pennsylvania and Nevada as well as newly minted battle ground, Georgia.

This COVID relief bill became law without a single Republican vote. But if you ask Republican voters, even those in ruby red districts how they feel about it the answer is a lot different from what you have been hearing from Republican members of Congress.

CNN's Gary Tuchman reports.


GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Economic life has long been challenging in the mountainous towns of West Virginia coal country. The COVID outbreak has made things much worse.

KEVIN JOHNSON, COAL MINER: It is tough for my kids, for, you know, my wife, my whole family in general. I mean, I got a lot of my family is out of work.

FOREMAN: Kevin Johnson is a coal miner, but like many other people in this area lost his job. JOHNSON: I love the mines. I mean, it's good money, really good money.

Good money. Good living.

FOREMAN (on camera): And how hard is it right now?

JOHNSON: It's a struggle right now.

FOREMAN (voice-over): Here in Williamson, West Virginia, the seat of Mingo County, the COVID relief bill is a huge relief for so many people. Garland Thompson is a restaurant dishwasher.


GARLAND THOMPSON, RESTAURANT EMPLOYEE: I'm excited about it. You know, any time you can help areas as depressed as Mingo County in West Virginia and give people $1400, hopefully that'll -- it's going to help a little bit.

FOREMAN (on camera): Help you?

THOMPSON: Yes, sir. Helped me, yes. Me and my wife.

FOREMAN: There is great awareness among people in Mingo County that their senior U.S. senator Joe Manchin could have brought down this bill if he wanted to, that he is, in effect, a king maker. And many people we talked to here like that.

(Voice-over): Charles McGuire says he almost always votes Republican, including for Donald Trump but he respects the political moves made by his conservative Democratic senator.

CHARLES MCGUIRE, RESPIRATORY THERAPIST: Most of the time he just speaks his mind and he speaks what is true.

MAYOR CHARLIE HATFIELD (D), WILLIAMSON, WEST VIRGINIA: I think Senator Manchin has done very well in helping us through this.

FOREMAN: This is the mayor of Williamson, Charlie Hatfield, who is an ancestor of the famous Hatfield family that feuded with the McCoys in this very area back in the late 1800s. The conservative Democratic mayor who doesn't want to reveal if he votes Democrat or Republican in national elections does reveal he very much likes this bill.

HATFIELD: I think it's a good thing. And I can tell you from what I'm seeing the city alone will probably get $1 million.

FOREMAN (on camera): What proportion of your budget is that?

HATFIELD: It would represent almost a third. Yes.

FOREMAN: So this is big money?

HATFIELD: It's big money.

FOREMAN (voice-over): We did meet a couple of people in town who agree with Republicans in Congress who all gave the bill a thumbs down. BUTCH BECKETT, MINGO COUNTY RESIDENT: I didn't like none of this. What

they're doing right now, there's a lot of waste in the money.

FOREMAN: But almost all we talked to here feel differently. Sherran Ray Justice has a disability and hasn't been able to find a job.

(On camera): How do you feel about the fact that no Republican senators voted for this COVID relief bill. They all said to no to it.

SHERRAN RAY JUSTICE, MINGO COUNTY RESIDENT: Yes. That's some bull. That's some hogwash bull (EXPLETIVE DELETED) there.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Watch your language.

JUSTICE: I mean, they should -- I mean, yes, apologize for my language. They should loosen up a little bit. You know what I mean?

FOREMAN (voice-over): Kevin Johnson, the laid-off miner, says he voted for Donald Trump and usually supports Republicans. But disagrees with how the GOP has handled this. With this aid he says he will now be able to --

JOHNSON: Pay up the rent and pay up the bills because people are behind, you know? As well as everybody else. I'm sure I ain't the only one that's got a tough time.

FOREMAN: Tough times for so many. And now the hope things will start getting better soon.

Gary Tuchman, CNN, Williamson, West Virginia.


CABRERA: Just ahead, how the Grammys will look a whole lot different this year. Plus a CNN original series on how former President Lincoln used the power of his word to uplift a nation in sorrow.

"LINCOLN, DIVIDED WE STAND" continues tonight at 10:00 here on CNN.



CABRERA: So the Grammy's are tonight. But don't expect everyone to be on Zoom. Host Trevor Noah says the show will have a musical festival vibe with parts of it taking place in and around the Los Angeles Convention Center. The show is also switching things up when it comes to the presenters.

This year some of these awards will be given out by bartenders, box office managers and others who work in music venues that have been hit by the pandemic. It's expected to be a big night for Beyonce, who has nine nominations, and feature performers also include Taylor Swift, Cardi B, Billie Eilish, and Miranda Lambert.

Now check this out. World renowned cellist, this is Yo-Yo Ma, playing an impromptu concert for everyone at a vaccination clinic in Massachusetts.

Yo-Yo Ma had just received his second dose of the vaccine, and he was using his 15-minute observation period to put on this show for everyone who was still there getting their shots. Ma has been known to deliver pop-up performances, most recently performing for essential and frontline workers in parts of Massachusetts.

Just a little bit of serenity for all of us.

And while COVID-19 has forced so many people into isolation for safety reasons, that feeling is an everyday reality for some of the 61 million Americans living with disabilities. This week's CNN Hero became paralyzed from the waist down and he struggled for years to attain a healthy lifestyle. But now motivated by his own successful journey, he provides an adaptive training and nutrition program that helps people with disabilities push beyond their limitations towards fuller, happier lives.

Meet Wesley Hamilton.


WESLEY HAMILTON, CNN HERO: Come on, easy. My main goal -- nice -- is to teach people how to take control of their life. Yes, there you go. Take full accountability and embrace your reality. Slowly, all right, you start right here.

When we go through out program, it's only the beginning. I want to be there through your whole journey because I want to see you successful.

There we go. One more.

I gained so much from my injury and I want other people to have that same mindset. You're learning that you're about to do more. I believe that once we help someone now they have the ability to help someone else. This is something that has to have a ripple effect. We are coming together, empowering each other, be an inspiration for one another.



CABRERA: I can't help but just have a huge smile when you look at Wesley and what he's doing. If you want to learn his full story and more about his work, go to


CABRERA: You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. Thanks so much for being here.